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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Chinese police detain 15 Tibetans after protest, group says

February 17, 2009

Mon, 16 Feb 2009
Author : DPA
Asia World News | Home

Beijing - Police in south-western China detained 15 Tibetans on Monday
after they staged a protest in support of the exiled Dalai Lama and
Tibetan independence, a Tibetan exile group reported. The police
detained the Tibetans after they marched through the centre of the town
of Litang, Sichuan province, shouting slogans including "Long live the
Dalai Lama" and "Independence for Tibet," the Tibetan Centre for Human
Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) said.

The protestors also called for the "Swift return of the Dalai Lama to
Tibet" and shouted "No Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebration this year,"
the group quoted witnesses as saying.

The report of the protest and the arrests could not immediately be
confirmed.

TCHRD is based in the Indian hill town of Dharamshala, which is also
home to the Tibetan government-in-exile and the Dalai Lama.

It said the two-hour protest was peaceful and followed another one on
Sunday by a single monk in Litang.

Monday's protest was led by Sonam Tenpa, 29, a younger brother of the
monk, TCHRD said.

Some protestors were beaten as paramilitary police forced them onto
military trucks, and several suffered bruising and bleeding from
injuries to their noses, heads and arms, TCHRD said.

The arrested protestors were aged 21 to 41 andwere all from nomadic
families which had resettled in Litang town, it said.

TCHRD said it had unconfirmed reports that police detained two more
groups of Tibetans in Litang, after reinforcements arrived following the
monk's protest on Sunday.

It said the two other groups were supporters of Rongyal Adrak, who was
sentenced to eight years in prison in November 2007 for "inciting to
split the country at an international sports event," according to the
Chinese government.

In August 2007, Rongyal Adrak seized the microphone at the Litang horse
festival and asked the mainly Tibetan crowd if the Dalai Lama should be
allowed to return to China.

Police nationwide detained thousands of Tibetans last year after
independence protests and riots erupted in Litang and dozens of other
Tibetan areas.

The protests began in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous
Region, on March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising
against Chinese rule.

The government said 19 people were killed in the rioting but the Tibetan
government-in-exile said about 140 people were killed, most of them
Tibetans shot by Chinese paramilitary police.

Tibetan exiles have alleged that the government has intensified a
crackdown in Tibetan areas in the run-up to the anniversary of the
rioting and the 50th anniversary of the flight into exile of the Dalai Lama.

Officials have urged Tibetans not to join a campaign by exile groups for
a boycott of the week-long Tibetan lunar new year celebrations, which
begin February 23.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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